UT-Battelle has donated $150,000 to the Boy Scouts of America’s Great Smoky Mountain Council for an ongoing campaign to renovate Camp Buck Toms near Rockwood.
The money will be used to help set up classrooms for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities at the camp.
“This corporate gift will help the local scouting organization establish quality STEM-related learning activities for the hundreds of Boy Scouts in our community who attend Camp Buck Toms,” ORNL Director Thom Mason said in a press release.
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy.
The release said the Great Smoky Mountain Council is trying to raise $4 million to renovate the camp, which serves scout troops located in 21 East Tennessee counties as well as troops from other districts and states. Improvements made so far include the replacement of the camp’s tents with more permanent wooden shelters.
The UT-Battelle gift will go toward the renovation of the camp’s training center, which will include facilities to help scouts earn merit badges in science and technology-related areas such as energy, engineering, nuclear science, chemistry, and forestry, the release said.
“UT-Battelle’s contribution is a tremendous boost to this area’s scouting programs and the Scouting organization’s desire to encourage young peoples’ interest in the STEM subjects,” said council Scout Executive Larry Brown.
By creating a mixture of classroom and outdoor experiences, scout leaders will be able to teach merit badges such as nuclear science, space exploration, astronomy, engineering, and robotics, Brown said.